PHOTOGRAPHY BY GOLD & GOOSE
In sort of a ‘do as I say, not as a I do’ role, Jorge Lorenzo says the super human way in which he competed and finished fifth in the Dutch Grand Prix two weeks ago – after suffering a broken collarbone just two days earlier – shouldn’t be emulated.
“I think the riders in the future who will have similar injuries to me shouldn’t take my Assen race as the example,” Lorenzo said. “Some friend told me that an Italian rider broke the right arm and he wanted to race the next week or 10 days later and this is not good. It’s not logical and it’s not good. You have to take your body as a feeling. If you feel great to race, if you feel mentally strong… but this race in Assen is not good if it is taken as an example.”
The subject of Lorenzo’s heroic ride was obviously brought up in today’s pre-race press conference for Sunday’s German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring with the defending World Champion asked straight away of his condition.
“I really was surprised with the possibility to race at Assen and I’m also surprised with the very fast recovery,” Lorenzo said. “Every day I feel the improvement. I have two physios working with me every day, morning and afternoon, working a lot with a lot of material and a lot of hours of working. Now 10 or 12 days after the accident, I don’t feel perfect, but I feel much better than Assen and this is very good. I’m in better condition here than I was in Assen, for sure.”
As for the race itself, Lorenzo freely admitted that there was some trepidation on his part – especially late in the race when the pain started to increase and his body became fatigued.
“Was quite painful and scary because I don’t feel the left part of my body ready and perfect and sometimes I was not so precise on some braking so I had to manage… especially at the end of the race,” he said. “The beginning was better but at the end of the race with all the effort I have to do with the right side; obviously you lose a lot of power and you lose a lot of endurance, the braking especially. But it was enough to finish the race in fifth position because I got a lot of advantage with [Stefan] Bradl, who was sixth. With all the things we did before, I could finish in fifth position and only lose two points and that’s the important thing.”
Later in the press conference, long-time MotoGP journalist Dennis Noyes posed the question of the possibility of eliminating the worst two races from a rider’s points tally at season’s end – thereby giving them the lee-way to skip a race if injured. None of the riders on the panel – Lorenzo, Valentino Rossi, Cal Crutchlow, Andrea Dovizioso or Stefan Bradl – liked the idea.
“For me I’m not positive about this possibility because it will increase the risk of the riders,” Lorenzo said. “You have to be on the bike. It’s the best way to avoid the incidents. If you have the possibility to crash, you will take more risks and you will injure more times. I think is not right.”
Rossi concurred, though not as adamantly.
“For me it’s something good and something bad,” Rossi said. “Maybe it’s better because in a situation like Jorge for sure if you have a race to delete you can decide not to race. Might also be better for the battle on the last lap because maybe one rider can try more to win also because of this type of points, but in the end I prefer like this. It is more clear for everybody and you have a clear ranking. You have to do the maximum, but also without the risk too much or make too many mistakes. I think it’s better like this at the end.”
When Crutchlow raced in the British Superbike Series, a similar system was used. He also wants the points system to stay the same. But he also said that Lorenzo racing with a broken collarbone may have sent a dangerous precedent.
“I have done a championship like that before in British Championship where they took two results away,” the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider said. “I don’t know. I like to see a championship is a championship. Like Dani [Pedrosa] said, if there’s 18 races then you have to try to finish 18 races as best as possible, but if you did this policy there would… I think riders are always permanently riding injured with some niggle or something because when you crash a motorcycle you don’t get off unscathed – there’s always something. For the championship it’s good, but you have some riders say I would have won if this was this. There’s a lot at stake at MotoGP.
“I think Jorge has set the bar because now if someone is injured we can go to the medical office and say, ‘Well, Jorge rode with a broken collarbone now they let him race.’ There’s a gray area there. Now that they let him race, what’s next?
To which Lorenzo piped in with… “Don’t do it. Don’t do what I did, please.”